Freedom of Information request reveals Capacitybuilders 'lines to take'

Document lays out plan for announcing closure of Third Sector Leadership Centre

The unwillingness of Capacitybuilders to give a full explanation for its closure of the Third Sector Leadership Centre last year is explained by a document released last week under the Freedom of Information Act.

The sector infrastructure agency decided in January 2009 to stop funding the centre because of the poor quality of the business plan submitted by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, one of the centre partners.

But the statement on the decision gave the only reason as "competing demands for funding" and devoted half of its length to praising "NCVO's role in promoting and developing leadership".

Capacitybuilders refused to answer questions about the announcement, prompting Third Sector to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act. Documents released shortly afterwards referred to the inadequacy of the business plan.

The briefing document that outlined the strategy behind the announcement was withheld until the Information Commission ordered its release on appeal .

The document told the Capacitybuilders board that the future of the centre had been the subject of speculation in the trade press.

It said Capacitybuilders should agree "common lines to take" with the NCVO. The statement should "welcome NCVO's initiative in examining the widest range of options."

It should add that the agency "was grateful for the positive approach of the NCVO in seeking to find a sustainable future for the centre" and "continues to value NCVO's partnership in promoting the leadership agenda".

A Capacitybuiders spokeswoman said it had believed the draft statement was exempt under the act, but that it accepted the decision.

- See Editorial

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